By now you have probably heard about or read the college essay by high schooler Brittany Stinson detailing how her routine trips to Costco shaped her life and world. In the piece, now officially at viral status, Stinson paints a vivid picture of how wandering up and down the aisles at her favorite big box store inspired her to ponder the addictive nature of Nutella, imagine physics experiments involving 3-pound tubs of sour cream and converse with her father about historical figures who share their aliases with giant hams. The essay is clever, warm and highly observant and introspective. If Costco is a kingdom, as Brittany claims, she is currently its reigning Queen. […]
The Business Insider piece that originally introduced Stinson’s essay to the world framed her success in their title: “This Essay Got a High School Senior Into 5 Ivy League Schools and Stanford.” As a college essay expert and advisor, I would love to be able to tell you that a college essay can get you into the school of your dreams. But the truth is, a wide array of factors are considered in admissions decisions and the essay is just one of them. And media attention that focuses exclusively on students who gain admission to multiple Ivy League Institutions sends the wrong message to students (and parents) about what is important and why they should pay attention to Stinson’s writing.
Stinson’s essay was not her ticket to admission. It was a thoughtfully crafted, brilliantly executed piece of a very complex puzzle. Still, the college essay is a highly significant piece of the puzzle in that it is one of the only opportunities students have to speak to admissions officers in their own voices and highlight something about their personalities or passions that allows them to stand our from other, similarly qualified candidates.
So what should students and parents take away from the Costco essay?
Read the rest at Huffington Post.